MERS Virus Symptoms Not A Global Epidemic Yet, World Health Organization Says Don’t Drink Camel Urine

camels linked to mers

Cases of MERS virus symptoms have not yet reached a point where it can be called a global epidemic or a world emergency, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the WHO warned the MERS virus outbreak may be spread by Muslims drinking camel urine, or by using camel byproducts as part of foods, cosmetics, and other products commonly sold in the Middle East. Camel urine is traditionally used for medicinal purposes by some people living in that region.

Worldwide there have been 571 confirmed cases of the MERS virus, and about a third, or 171 people, have died from contracting it. The CDC recently confirmed the MERS virus was in the United States in at least two states. The second MERS virus case was in Florida and up to 21 people, including the patient who had just come from Saudi Arabia, were potentially affected by the deadly coronavirus.

Earlier this morning it was also announced that two cases of MERS virus symptoms were discovered in the Netherlands. This is the second time the Netherlands has had a confirmed case. In this incident, one man and one woman who are family traveled to Saudi Arabia recently and shared the same room for two weeks. Although it is not certain how they became infected, one of the two people visited a camel farm while traveling in Saudi Arabia. Researchers believe that up to 75 percent of all the camels within that country may be carrying the MERS virus.

Despite the spread of the MERS virus, the WHO says it does not yet qualify as a global health emergency. The main source of the infection is apparently limited to camels in Saudi Arabia and while it can spread from person to person it’s said this requires prolonged contact. Because the MERS virus does not spread easily via humans, WHO’s Dr. Keiji Fukuda says that nations should focus on containing the MERS virus:

“Most urgent is the need to strengthen and improve infection practices in hospitals. We saw many examples where infection control practices have broken down. Wearing gloves at the right time, wearing masks at the right time … washing your hands. We don’t think there are esoteric methods needed to control this infection.”

Fukuda says this is a “teachable moment” and they have been working closely with the Saudi Arabian government in order to contain the MERS virus outbreak.

[Image via Huffington Post]